Fri, Apr/19
T&F
vs BW at Ohio State Jesse Owens Classic
Fri, Apr/19
T&F
vs Capital at Otterbein Twilight
Fri, Apr/19
T&F
vs Capital at Ohio State Jesse Owens Classic
Fri, Apr/19
T&F
vs Heidelberg at ONU Polar Bear Invite
Fri, Apr/19
T&F
vs John Carroll at Ohio State Jesse Owens Classic
Fri, Apr/19
T&F
vs John Carroll at BW Sparky Adams Invite
Fri, Apr/19
T&F
vs John Carroll at Wake Forest Invite
Fri, Apr/19
T&F
vs Marietta at Jesse Owens Classic
Fri, Apr/19
T&F
vs Marietta at Otterbein Invite
Fri, Apr/19
T&F
vs Mount Union at Otterbein Twilight Meet

Ohio Athletic Conference

OAC March Scholar-Athlete of the Month | Emma Burns, Capital University


Finding a Different Path – Emma Burns is Learning From Adversity

By: Nick Astalos, Sports Information Director

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A two-time academic All-OAC selection and a 2021 All-OAC first team honoree, Capital University senior Emma Burns entered the 2021-22 basketball season with her mind set on greater ambitions.

The season started with a 63-51 win over Wooster that saw Emma knock down a new career-high in scoring with 25 points. She followed that performance up with another 21 points in the team’s next game, albeit a loss to Illinois Wesleyan. Her hot start to the season earned her the OAC’s first Player of the Week award of the season.

Playing at arguably the highest level of her career, Emma looked destined for this season to be special. Then hit the 5:15 mark of the first quarter of the third game of the season at Calvin. Emma drove to the basket with a “wide-open layup” in her sights. Just after taking the shot, she came down and her knee buckled. Her promising senior season, over. Her basketball playing career, over.

“I’ve had knee pains before with tendonitis, but I knew immediately that something more serious was wrong,” Emma said. “I felt the pain, but I was honestly overcome with anger at the time because I knew I was never going to play again.”

Shortly thereafter, Emma’s fears were confirmed by the doctors, leading to a feeling of defeat and being emotionally drained.

“My roommates and teammates, Brooke [Ommert], Gabby [Ledbetter], and Kaylee [Cyphers], they were really there for me and helped pick me back up physically and emotionally,” said Burns.

With the realization that her basketball career was over, Emma faced a decision made by so many others before her – to remain a member of the team or to move on and focus on her studies and future aspirations.

“I just love my teammates,” Emma eluded. “I’m closer to the upperclassmen, but I see the drive and desire to win from the freshmen and underclassmen, that I feel like as a senior captain of the team, I can still pass on some kind of leadership to my teammates.” 

Emma, who had always been a leader on the court, and a lead-by-example type of a player, was now saddled with the difficult task of developing a new style of leadership.

“It was tough at first as I struggled to find my voice as a leader,” she said. “It’s a different leadership role than what I’m used to, but I think I’ve adjusted well to leading from the sidelines.”

With her final season trending in a positive direction and things going so well for Emma, both personally and athletically, this injury has taught her new life lessons that she will carry forward.

“This experience has helped teach me that the way I want to go, is probably not going to be the way I actually go sometimes,” she said. “By finding a different path, I can still contribute in different ways.”

Emma, who was driven to attend Capital University for much more than just basketball, has excelled in finding her different path off the court as well.

“I chose Capital for more of the academic side of things,” Emma said. “I want to go to medical school, and Capital had an 80% acceptance rate to medical school programs, so I knew Capital would challenge me and help me stand out in the application process.”

A quality student, holding a 3.8 GPA with a biology (pre-med) major and a minor in chemistry, Emma has immersed herself in the school for more than just basketball.

“I really enjoyed my genetics class with Dr. Larson my sophomore year,” she said. “This class was the first specialized class I took at Capital that introduced more specific techniques in the lab, and I really enjoyed being able to see what we were learning in class translate to the lab experience.”

Aside from academics, Emma has put herself in positions to grow and learn more during her time at Capital. She has been a dedicated member of Capital’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and a member of Tri-Beta – a national Honors Biological Society, among other areas of involvement.

With her Capital days nearing a close, Emma has her sights set on her next step. Having received a well-rounded education and developing as a person while at Capital, she now awaits to hear back on her medical school applications. Looking to attend a school in the Midwest Region, she has also tried her luck with applications elsewhere as well, including in the sunny state of California.

Emma will soon learn what awaits her as far as medical school is concerned. Once this new journey in life begins for her, she will continue to find her path in life, just as she did at Capital.